How Rats Cause House Fires

How Rats Cause House Fires

It’s estimated that rats and mice cause around 20% of undetermined house and structure fires in the United States each year.


Rats are often unwanted guests in and around homes. We know they carry a multitude of diseases and can contaminate food and cause damage to your belongings – but destruction from rats can get much worse.

Rats need to chew on things.

Most people assume rats are only attracted to food, but they also need to chew on things. Rats have teeth that continue to grow and need to be worn down. This causes a lot of trouble for homeowners, who don’t suspect rats have been chewing on the electrical wiring in their home, exposing raw wire and creating a fire hazard.

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Rats put your home at risk.

Electrical wires create heat and can become very hot. Unfortunately, the damage done by rats allows the hot wires to potentially come in contact with other objects that could ignite a fire. Under the right circumstances, a rat could be responsible for burning down your home.

The most likely culprits:

Norway rats (aka brown rats) and roof rats (aka black rats or ship rats) are the most likely species to inhabit your home. Another troublesome rodent in homes is the house mouse.

That’s not all...

In addition to damaging electrical wires, rats can cause serious damage to many other things in your home. Their strong teeth can damage framing and put holes in pipes -- which can cause water damage or flooding. Rats also need soft materials for nesting and can destroy insulation and other vulnerable items.

Prevention is key.

Keeping rats out of your home in the first place can save you a lot of trouble and costly damage. Some rats can squeeze into a hole smaller than a quarter, so it’s important to patch any holes, cracks or loose vents along the perimeter of your home. It’s also a good idea to keep the exterior of your home free of wood piles or dense shrubbery where rats can take shelter. Keep pet food sealed in airtight containers, and keep trash cans covered.

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